If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your tax-free health funds won’t last forever, which means you’ll need to spend them every year or lose them. What can you spend them on? Quite a bit, actually. FSAs are established through your employer and you can use the money you deposit for a variety of dental and orthodontic treatments.
Candid treatment isn’t the cheapest at-home aligner option out there, but they have options that can make those costs a lot more manageable, including FSA payments. If your FSA funds are burning a hole in your pocket (or the end of the year is coming up), Candid will accept FSA payment or help you arrange a reimbursement. After reading this guide, you’ll be ready to take advantage of those sweet tax-free funds for your at-home teeth straightening treatment.
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What Is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?
An FSA is a savings account that allows you to deposit pre-tax money for the sole purpose of paying future health care expenses. You can choose to deposit a certain percentage of your paycheck, and your employer might contribute as well, although it’s not required. You can link an FSA to a debit card and use it just like you would any other card. Or, you can file for reimbursement on eligible expenses. The current limit on FSA deposits is $2,750 per year, so you shouldn’t plan on having more than that available for treatments.
People who have routine health expenses—like prescription drugs and office visits for chronic conditions—often find FSAs helpful, since they have a set number of tax-free dollars to cover their month-to-month health expenses. But even if you have intermittent expenses, you can simply choose to deposit less money in your FSA and it can help cover whatever comes up.
It’s important to remember that FSA money does not roll over from year to year. It’s a “use it or lose it” system. So if you’re approaching the year’s end and still have funds left, you’ll want to find something to spend them on.
How to get an FSA
You can only set up an FSA if your employer offers it as an option. When the benefits coordinator goes over your options, they will likely let you know whether or not you have the option of getting an FSA. If you’re interested, your employer will provide the forms you need to get started.
Do FSA Funds Cover Dental/Orthodontics?
You can use FSA dollars for a wide variety of dental treatments and procedures. The specific qualifying treatments can vary based on your plan, but FSAs can typically cover preventative care, basic procedures, and other dental procedures.
You can also use it for prescription drugs if you need them. Your FSA won’t cover cosmetic procedures, though, so teeth whitening, veneers, etc. could be out of the question. Sometimes orthodontic treatment is considered cosmetic and other times it’s not. It depends on your specific FSA.
What Types of Orthodontic Treatment Can an FSA Cover?
You can use FSA funds for just about any orthodontic treatment that isn’t considered cosmetic. How are cosmetic treatments determined? It’s different for various FSAs, so you’ll need to check with your specific plan and employer.
In most cases, however, in-office treatments like braces and Invisalign usually correct more severe misalignments and are eligible for FSA payments. Sometimes, at-home aligners might be considered cosmetic, but many times they’re not. Services like SmileDirectClub, Candid, and Candid say that they’ll accept FSA payments, so there’s a decent chance that you’ll be able to use it for your home aligner treatment.
Can I Use My FSA for Candid Clear Aligners?
In many cases, yes. But it might depend on your specific account. FSAs won’t often cover cosmetic dentistry like whitening, bonding, veneers, etc. Sometimes, FSAs and dental insurance providers label at-home aligners as cosmetic dentistry too.
But most of the time, you should be able to use your FSA to pay for Candid’s treatment. According to their website, if you have an FSA, you can “pay by another means and we’ll get you a receipt for reimbursement.” So, after you pay for your treatment up front, they’ll make sure you have what you need to file for reimbursement with your FSA.
Will Candid Help Me Use My FSA?
In a way, yes. They won’t necessarily fill out all the necessary paperwork and communicate with your dental insurance provider like Byte will, but Candid still makes it pretty easy to access your funds. If you have an FSA card, they’ll accept it like a regular credit or debit card. And if you need to file for reimbursement, they’ll provide a receipt, which the administrator might need to confirm your treatment details and disperse your funds.
If you want a home aligner company who will handle every part of the insurance and FSA process, go with Byte. Their insurance team will handle all of your communication and paperwork so you don’t have to.
How To Use FSA Funds for Candid Treatment
You may receive a debit card linked to your FSA account. If so, you can use it just like you would any other card. Enter the card information during your checkout. The funds will be automatically approved as long as at-home aligners are a qualifying expense on your FSA plan. However, your FSA administrator might require other forms or paperwork after the fact, so keep all of your receipts and emails from Candid.
Otherwise, you’ll have to file for reimbursement. So, pay for your Candid treatment on your own (or jump on a payment plan), then fill out the necessary reimbursement form. Your employer or FSA administrator should have this paperwork available. Candid will also provide any receipts you need for confirmation too, although they won’t fill out the forms for you.
What If I Have Dental Insurance, Too?
Is it better to use dental insurance or an FSA to pay for your Candid treatment? If you have both, you can use both!
Your orthodontic benefits likely won’t cover your entire treatment cost. Most plans won’t cover more than 50% of an orthodontic treatment cost, and they sometimes include age limits and/or lifetime spending maximums. Let’s say your dental insurance covers 50% of your $1,895 Candid treatment. However, it also has a lifetime maximum of $800. In this case, you’d receive $800 of coverage from your insurance provider and you would need to pay the remaining $1,095 out of pocket.
If you have an FSA, you can use that to cover the remaining balance if you’d like. But that depends on your plans for future health care expenses. The annual limit for FSA contributions is $2,750, so if you plan on using it for other health care expenses later in the year, you might hold off. But if the year’s end is approaching, you’ll need to use it or lose it, so spend away on that Candid treatment!
The benefit of using dental insurance is that the provider will cover some of your costs. Using an FSA is still using your own money since it came out of your paycheck. But using both at the same time could help you save a lot on your home aligners.
Flexible Spending Accounts vs. Health Savings Accounts
They’re similar in name, but not always similar in function. Here are some of the differences you should know.
|Who qualifies||Anyone whose employer offers them as a benefit||Only people with a qualifying high deductible health plan (HDHP)|
|2021 contribution limit||$2,750 for an individual||$3,600 for an individual, $7,200 for a family|
|Contribution adjustments||Only during open or special enrollment periods||Anytime|
|Expiration||Dec. 31 every year||None, unused funds will roll over|
|Account ownership||Owned by the employer. You lose it if you change jobs.||Owned by the individual and follows you during employment changes.|
|Using funds||Might not have access to funds for non-medical expenses||Can withdraw funds for non-medical expenses, but must pay a 20% penalty|
Just like FSAs, you can usually use HSA funds to pay for orthodontic treatment, even at-home clear aligners. Again, it depends on your specific plan, so you’ll want to check the details before signing up for either one.
Flexible Spending Accounts are an ideal way to pay for your Candid treatment, especially if the end of the year is fast approaching. Candid will help you get the receipts and other documents you might need to access your funds. Make sure you go to Candid’s customer support team, your employer, or your FSA administrator with further questions. They can help you get on the right track.